Do children really need to drink milk? No, of course not

There is a hot debate regarding the health impact of drinking cow milk. Many experts are taking the stance that cow milk–and dairy in general–could be causing more issues than we ever thought, especially in a child’s diet. For one thing, more than half of the global population has some form of lactose (milk sugar) intolerance, according to the National Library of Medicine, and this intolerance can manifest as a number of different chronic conditions. SEE ALSO: Why you should trade cow milk for donkey milk Cow milk, however, has been a staple in the American diet of children for decades, and only recently have experts begun to evaluate whether or not it is really a necessity. Dairy products for commercial sale are fortified with important vitamins and minerals children need for healthy development, and this fact has been behind the push for allowing children to drink milk. “Do kids really need milk? No, of course they don’t,” Amy Lanou, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, told Live Science. Lanou indicated that people in other parts of the world don’t drink milk after they are weaned from their mother’s breast, and those individuals still get adequate nutrition. What’s more, within the last ten years, experts have proven milk is not a superior food in regards to nutrition, and there is no evidence to suggest it prevents fractures or improves bone health more than other food sources. Too much milk may even cause anemia and contribute to obesity, according to studies in the Journal of Pediatrics.  “An 8-ounce glass of low-fat chocolate milk has the same number of calories from sugar as an 8-ounce glass of Coke or Pepsi,” Lanou said. Milk nutrition alternatives for children For parents who want to cut out the dairy in a child’s diet but still want to make sure the correct vitamins and minerals are there, all it takes is some food know-how. Lanou explained the calcium, protein and vitamin D in milk is easily replaced with other food items such as nuts, beans, green, leafy vegetables, breakfast cereal, orange juice, eggs, and soymilk. Research has shown that calcium from plant sources is better absorbed by the body when compared to calcium from dairy. As for bone healthy and development, the best option for children is physical exercise. “The best way for kids to take good care of bones is to go outside and play,” Lanou told Live Science. According to the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, physical activity has the greatest positive impact on adolescents’ bone health, as does spending some time in the sunlight (for vitamin D), avoiding smoking and high salt and caffeine intakes, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables. SEE ALSO: What you need to know about milk alternatives The Committee recommends  children and adults to get at least 400 to 500 mg calcium per day from plant sources such as beans, greens, whole grain bread, tortillas, fortified juices, cereals or nondairy milks.The post Do children really need to drink milk? No, of course not appeared first on Voxxi.

Children don’t have to drink milk anymore. (Shutterstock)

There is a hot debate regarding the health impact of drinking cow milk. Many experts are taking the stance that cow milk–and dairy in general–could be causing more issues than we ever thought, especially in a child’s diet.

For one thing, more than half of the global population has some form of lactose (milk sugar) intolerance, according to the National Library of Medicine, and this intolerance can manifest as a number of different chronic conditions.

SEE ALSO: Why you should trade cow milk for donkey milk

Cow milk, however, has been a staple in the American diet of children for decades, and only recently have experts begun to evaluate whether or not it is really a necessity.

Dairy products for commercial sale are fortified with important vitamins and minerals children need for healthy development, and this fact has been behind the push for allowing children to drink milk.

“Do kids really need milk? No, of course they don’t,” Amy Lanou, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, told Live Science. Lanou indicated that people in other parts of the world don’t drink milk after they are weaned from their mother’s breast, and those individuals still get adequate nutrition.

What’s more, within the last ten years, experts have proven milk is not a superior food in regards to nutrition, and there is no evidence to suggest it prevents fractures or improves bone health more than other food sources.

Too much milk may even cause anemia and contribute to obesity, according to studies in the Journal of Pediatrics.  “An 8-ounce glass of low-fat chocolate milk has the same number of calories from sugar as an 8-ounce glass of Coke or Pepsi,” Lanou said.

Milk nutrition alternatives for children

Playing is essential for kids.
Physical activity is the number one way for children to build healthy bones. (Shutterstock)

For parents who want to cut out the dairy in a child’s diet but still want to make sure the correct vitamins and minerals are there, all it takes is some food know-how.

Lanou explained the calcium, protein and vitamin D in milk is easily replaced with other food items such as nuts, beans, green, leafy vegetables, breakfast cereal, orange juice, eggs, and soymilk.

Research has shown that calcium from plant sources is better absorbed by the body when compared to calcium from dairy.

As for bone healthy and development, the best option for children is physical exercise.

“The best way for kids to take good care of bones is to go outside and play,” Lanou told Live Science.

According to the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, physical activity has the greatest positive impact on adolescents’ bone health, as does spending some time in the sunlight (for vitamin D), avoiding smoking and high salt and caffeine intakes, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about milk alternatives

The Committee recommends  children and adults to get at least 400 to 500 mg calcium per day from plant sources such as beans, greens, whole grain bread, tortillas, fortified juices, cereals or nondairy milks.

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The post Do children really need to drink milk? No, of course not appeared first on Voxxi.